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on August 11, 2012
I've always loved watching Rachel and how she shows people how easy cooking can be so that's why I bought this book. I bought it for my husband who asked for a cookbook that would be easy for him to learn with and have recipes that weren't too complicated -- I was sure this would be perfect. After trying several recipes I'm afraid we became more and more disappointed.

The one thing I have to say as someone who has been cooking for over 50 years is that these recipes could not have gone through any kind of test kitchen. I suppose because they're written by a celebrity, the publisher thought testing the recipes wasn't required. That's the first mistake and it showed through in several recipes. The amounts of spices (such as 1/4 cup of fennel seed in a pasta dish so I told my husband only to use about 2 Tbsp no more) was way too much and made the strong taste of fennel unbearable to eat the food even with the lower amount. That's just one example but we found amounts to be very much out of whack, including liquid amounts in some of the recipes. Sure, some recipes were tasty and not too complicated but my husband found the book very untrustworthy as a beginner.

Another complaint we both had is that many pages don't have page numbers so if you look something up, you need to find a page that is numbered in the general vicinity and then count backwards or forwards to get to the page referenced. Very annoying.

We both found her section on utilizing items from the bottom of the jar/bottle to be really creative and useful. In fact the recipe for using up bottom of the jar pickles on brie was excellent. So it's not a total flop. If you're a new cook, give this book a wide pass. If you only want a book to give you inspiration or a few ideas, then spend the money. We're getting rid of our copy.
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on March 17, 2011
I love cookbooks, I must have hundreds and my mother (from whom I inherited my passion for cooking) has thousands. A few of my early purchases were of the "Look and Cook" variety, such as French Country Cookery (Anne Willan's Look & Cook) but I have since moved on to cookbooks that rely on the reader to have mastered the different techniques that are required for each specific dish. Then I saw Rachael Ray on television cook some of the dishes from this new cookbook of hers. I must say that I was impressed with both the style of the dishes and their ease of preparation. The recipes are new, trendy and very approachable. The photos that demonstrate the preparation of the dishes do so in a step-by-step fashion are well shot and very easy to learn from. Some of the recipes in this book were posted on Rachael's website before the book was released so I had the opportunity to try out a few earlier as well as some new ones that are only in the book.

The look and cook portion of the book includes 100 recipes and is divided into 3 chapters:

1. Cozy Food - Includes recipes for some great comfort food, such as: Shepherd's Pie Stuffed Potatoes; Pimiento Mac n' Cheese; and fresh Onion and Wild Mushroom Soup

2. Make Your Own Takeout - Restaurant-style dishes that can be prepared faster than you can pick up something to-go, recipes include: Chinese Orange-Barbeque Cashew Chicken and Crunchy Tuna Tacos

3. Fancy Fake-Outs - These are simplified versions of dishes that are usually reserved for the advanced home chef, including: Almost Tandoori Chicken; Individual Beef Wellingtons; and Veal and Olive Ragu with Pappardelle

The back section of the book includes 5 more chapters (125 additional recipes), but they are in her 30 Minute Meals format and do not include photographs. There is also a link to her interactive website where you can see select dishes being made in real-time.

So far my favorite recipe is for the Chicken Cutlets Brasciole. The chicken breast filets are butterflied and pounded; the breasts are then stuffed with a mixture of raisins, toasted pine nuts, parsley, lemon zest, cheese, garlic and bread crumbs and is served atop a tomato, wine and tarragon sauce. Delicious!

This book is full of great recipes, some of which will become regular fare at my house. Although the Look and Cook feature is not really necessary if you are an advanced cook, this book is still worth having for its creativity and ease of preparation alone. It should be a big hit with the beginning and intermediate home chef as nothing is assumed and each technique and process is both shown and explained in detail. Advanced cooks will still be inspired by Rachael's ability to simplify classic recipes and to substitute easy to find ingredients for those that have been used historically in the well-known versions.

Ms. Ray has both her fans and her detractors. Some find her a little too "cutesy" with her made-up words and expressions (like EVOO for extra-virgin olive oil), but I find her somewhat unorthodox style to be refreshing (and she's not too hard on the eyes!). All in all I find this to be a very fine cookbook and one that I will be recommending to quite a few of my friends who would appreciate both the recipes and the step-by-step style of the photography and instructions. This will not become a go-to cookbook for me, but I am very glad that I own it and I will be cooking recipes from it from time to time.
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on November 30, 2010
Rachael has once more come up with a great cookbook. Great recipes & just as easy as her others. Would highly recommend it.
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on April 15, 2013
I thought this would be more everyday recipes, a lot of them I will probably never use. I live in a small town and don't have access to many of the ingredients without planning far in advance
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on April 18, 2016
great recipes. my sister and I love using it. I have quite a few recipe books that i have collected over the years and this one is definitely one of my top ones to grab. I also love that Rachael Ray makes these recipes on her show so that you know exactly what the steps are and your able to follow along with her and the book easily. I love that the book is separated into chapters so its easier to find the type of recipe your looking for :) overall i am very happy with my purchase and will continue to purchase her line of cookware and cooking accessories.
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on January 12, 2012
The recipes in the book are great when you can't think of what's for dinner. Recipes are easy to follow, great for beginners. Love the steps-by-steps photos a lot, especially when there are very few cookbooks out there have photos of instructions.
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on December 8, 2010
I have looked through this book and find it excellent - simple and easy to follow. My Grandchildren will be delighted to get it for Christmas.
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